The previous five meetings between the Frankfort and Franklin County boys soccer teams had been decided by one goal, with two going to shootouts and one to double overtime.
Wednesday’s matchup in the 41st District Tournament lived up to recent history, with Frankfort winning 2-1 at Sower Soccer Complex.
“We have a lot of respect for Franklin County,” FHS coach Brad Kennedy said. “We always know they’re going to play us hard, and we’ll play them are as hard as we can.
“We challenged ourselves over the last several weeks so we’d be prepared for district play. We adjusted some things we do, and I thought the guys really bought into it, really fought for each other, and the result was a hard-fought victory.”
Frankfort (11-8) will play Great Crossing Thursday at 8 p.m. for the district championship, and both teams will advance to the 11th Region Tournament.
Franklin County scored first Wednesday, with Drew Harrod connecting on a penalty kick five minutes into the match.
That turned out to be the only score for the Flyers.
“Our defense really bought into our game plan and I think limited a very talented Franklin County attack,” Kennedy said.
A goal by Frankfort's Reed Miklavcic nine minutes later tied the match, and the first half ended in a 1-1 tie.
“They were ready, and they came out and outplayed us,” FCHS coach Louis Tandy said of the Panthers. “We couldn’t get anything going in the first half.
“We moved people on defense, made some adjustments, threw the kitchen sink at them, but they were prepared and played really well.”
The score stayed 1-1 until Miklavcic made a penalty kick with 22:57 left in the game.
“Miklavcic is a really great player,” Tandy said. “I’ve really enjoyed coaching against him. We usually play them twice a year, but I’ve watched from afar and seen him grow into a mature, great soccer player.”
FCHS ends its season at 9-9-3, and the Flyers graduate six seniors. They are Harrod, Alexander Bentley, Juan Castillo, Olger Menjivar, Malvin Nyantakyi and Jamie Waddle.
“I hate to see the seniors go out like this,” Tandy said. “Juan’s been playing since he was in the seventh grade, and Drew and Alexander started playing in the eighth grade."